Will Sean Williams be an asset to Boston?
I think he will. He's got all the potential to be a great player, even a consistent starter given the opportunity. His time in New Jersey on the court was fantastic, providing he was given minutes. Hopefully his off court issues won't impact to heavily on his play.
Last season, New York became one of 10 teams to purchase a multi-camera system from STATS, LLC that tracks every movement in an NBA game — of the players, the ball, the referees, etc. As I’ve written before, you can use it to measure player speed, the height of the ball on a particular rebound, how well a player shoots from a precise position on the floor, how well he shoots after one or two dribbles and lots of other things. Plucking out the useful data and making on-court adjustments based on it will be a giant challenge for the growing number of teams subscribing to a system that provides more information than any one person can handle.
And even more interesting: Anthony is quite a polished pick-and-roll scorer when he starts from above the three-point line and has space to get going. He flies around that pick, and when a big man help defender meets him at the foul line, Anthony has a go-to move that few can stop. He sort of fakes a right-to-left crossover before pulling the ball back to his right and powering to the hoop.
And though Stoudemire has a useful mid-range jumper, it fell off last season, and he had trouble shooting from the elbow when he had to catch the ball on the move. (An aside: That 46 percent mark isn’t terrible; Kobe Bryant shot 41 percent after catching at the elbow, and he shot much more often than either Knick did — on a whopping 57 percent of the possessions of which he caught the ball there. But Bryant almost never turned the ball over, and he’s obviously a very skilled passer.)
Bryant will be at the center of a lot of those choices, as plenty of scribes — including Sebastian Pruiti, Anthony Macri, Henry Abbott, Beckley Mason and I, among others — have already noted. All of us have been fretting, to some degree, about Bryant’s willingness to play nice within a new ecosystem that will feature the Princeton offense, an elite point guard and a pick-and-roll beast of a center. The concern is justified. But in all of this collective anxiety, we’ve sort of buried a very basic fact about Kobe Bryant: He is a fantastic off-ball cutter.
Nowitzki, of course, can remain a very productive sub-20.0 PER player, as most of the players on this list — and many others — have done before. And as by far the best perimeter shooter in this group, Nowitzki has a chance to age in a different way, especially if the Mavericks can continue supplying him with skillful pick-and-roll partners and legitimate centers to ease his burden on defense. Nowitzki has already increased his three-point attempts in each of the last two seasons as part of a team-wide evolution in Dallas that could also help prolong his career.
• Tim Duncan: Duncan’s new three-year deal, with a player option on the back end, essentially puts a wrap on this discussion. Duncan, 36, has repeatedly said he will be a Spur for life.
On a more fundamental level, Ginobili is one of those rare players who rates as “very good” to “excellent” in just about every phase of the game — scoring, long-range shooting, passing, defense on and off the ball, shot selection, etc. Toss in his international career, both in pro ball and in playing for Argentina, and Ginobili has a no-brainer Hall of Fame case.
Dwyane Wade: Some are already speculating about the 2014 free-agent class as if it includes Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. That’s technically accurate because all three can terminate their Heat contracts before the 2014-15 season. But if things are going well in Miami, it’s hard to see any of them — and especially the oldest one, Wade — turning down $20 million to enter free agency. The three stars have player options for about $22 million apiece for 2015-16, meaning it will again be up to them whether they want to stay.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook: Signed through 2015-16 and 2016-17, respectively, on a Thunder team that figures to contend as long as both are there.
Johnson: My agent told me about four or five days before the trade that there was a rumor going around. He doubted it would happen, but he wanted me to know the rumor was out there. So the day of the trade, probably like 11 a.m., our old GM, Rick Sund, and our GM, Danny Ferry — they were telling me that the rumors were true, and that if anything goes down, it was probably going to go down by 4 p.m. that day.